Rosalind Strickland, senior director of the Office of Civic Education Initiatives, had a unique vision in mind when she created the summer internship program. "My goal was to create a program that would go beyond the traditional shadowing and observation and provide students with real-world, hands-on learning opportunities," she says. Interns are taking advantage of this vision and obtaining first-hand experiences through their internships. Even more impressive than the fact that as high school students, interns are able to move beyond observation at all is the sheer variety of the activities they are permitted to do. From taking vital signs to analyzing samples, interns are being given the opportunity to discover first-hand if their chosen careers fit.
I have been able to grow my own cell line and care for the cell cultures. The cell line is called U87. The cells are Glioblastoma Cells, which are tied to a dangerous, stage-four brain cancer. I feel very motherly toward them, which I think is to be expected since their lives depend upon my care. We are isolating the RNA and testing to see if we have completely bounded the mitochondrial DNA. We hope to make a cell with no mitochondria, so we can determine the role of the mitochondria in ROS production. Also, I have been able to take a freshly removed tumor and freeze it in liquid nitrogen. Then I got to slice the tumor and fix it on slides. Learning about this dangerous brain cancer and all the ways to test and gather data has been very interesting!